Antismoking Campaigns' Perception and Gender Differences: A Comparison among EEG Indices

Giulia Cartocci, Enrica Modica, Dario Rossi, Bianca M.S. Inguscio, Pietro Aricò, Ana C. Martinez Levy, Marco Mancini, Patrizia Cherubino, Fabio Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human factors' aim is to understand and evaluate the interactions between people and tasks, technologies, and environment. Among human factors, it is possible then to include the subjective reaction to external stimuli, due to individual's characteristics and states of mind. These processes are also involved in the perception of antismoking public service announcements (PSAs), the main tool for governments to contrast the first cause of preventable deaths in the world: tobacco addiction. In the light of that, in the present article, it has been investigated through the comparison of different electroencephalographic (EEG) indices a typical item known to be able of influencing PSA perception, that is gender. In order to investigate the neurophysiological underpinnings of such different perception, we tested two PSAs: one with a female character and one with a male character. Furthermore, the experimental sample was divided into men and women, as well as smokers and nonsmokers. The employed EEG indices were the mental engagement (ME: the ratio between beta activity and the sum of alpha and theta activity); the approach/withdrawal (AW: the frontal alpha asymmetry in the alpha band); and the frontal theta activity and the spectral asymmetry index (SASI: the ratio between beta minus theta and beta plus theta). Results suggested that the ME and the AW presented an opposite trend, with smokers showing higher ME and lower AW than nonsmokers. The ME and the frontal theta also evidenced a statistically significant interaction between the kind of the PSA and the gender of the observers; specifically, women showed higher ME and frontal theta activity for the male character PSA. This study then supports the usefulness of the ME and frontal theta for purposes of PSAs targeting on the basis of gender issues and of the ME and the AW and for purposes of PSAs targeting on the basis of smoking habits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7348795
JournalComputational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Mathematics(all)


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